Adversaries Vs. Pal Review

Successful technology firms hire people to find things wrong with their product. These individuals are rewarded for finding things that are wrong, and fired for not finding them. Verification people have completely different motivations and a different set of objectives from developers.

By contrast, academic research is a disaster, because they rely on pal-review. Everyone has basically the same objectives, and rely on the same sources of income. This guarantees that no serious problem will ever be found which could threaten the broad base of funding.

When I hear people using the terms “peer-review” and “climate science” in the same sentence, I feel like busting out laughing.  It is a joke.

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43 Responses to Adversaries Vs. Pal Review

  1. wyoskeptic says:

    I agree. That is why in my Climate Change Dictionary the entry under peer reviews reads as follows:
    Peer Review = The process whereby any paper written that addresses Climate Change in a positive manner is reviewed by selected individuals sworn to be impartial despite their preferred favorable beliefs regarding Climate Change in order to promulgate its swift publication while any paper which is negative toward Climate Change is reviewed by the same uniquely impartial reviewers in order to guarantee its publication once the Sun has gone nova.

    The rest of the dictionary can be found here:


    • A nice contribution – I’ve got something along similar lines but intended to define the words that are often found on sceptic blogs:

      A few word definitions

      If it’s not there I’ll add “buddy review”.

    • emsnews says:

      My father, Dr. Aden Meinel, founder of many observatories and NASA, had his last paper, ‘The Sun Is A Variable Star’ censored by these same people. Why?

      I read the emails. One said, ‘That can’t be possible’. Another, ‘You are predicting another Ice Age? No.’ Then there was, ‘This is too scary.’ This is from Nature magazine for example.

      He was totally censored. And abused. I am still furious about this (it happened 6 years ago).

  2. QV says:

    It’s the same in the state controlled sector in the UK
    “Whistle Blowers” are ostracized when they point out flaws in, for example the NHS, when they should be honoured.
    I suspect it would be the same in the “Climate Change” industry.

  3. Anything is possible says:
  4. Frank K. says:

    I have provided journal and professional conference reviews for mechanical engineering papers (CFD), and it is rare that anything would be rejected outside of gross grammar or formatting issues, obvious technical problems (e.g. writing down the Navier-Stokes equations incorrectly), or clear commercialism. In the end, though, the editors of the journals are the gatekeepers, so clearly there is bias involved, although in a perfect world there shouldn’t be.

    At this point, there have been too many scholarly papers written that promote the climate disaster scenario, and anything that goes against that narrative will be rejected by the climate journal editors. There is just too much money and too many professional reputations on the line for it to be otherwise.

  5. Albert says:

    This points out the difference between engineers and scientists. When a scientist is wrong, he is given a grant to do further research, to find out why his original assumptions were incorrect. When an engineer is wrong, he is sued.

  6. gator69 says:

    “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it…”
    -Phil Jones email Feb. 21, 2005

    It’s hard to believe we inhabit the same planet.

  7. Kent Clizbe says:

    Peer review is simply systematized peer pressure. It can be used as a positive, or as a negative.
    But it is all about “staying in line.”
    There is little chance of “thinking outside the box,” or innovation, or paradigm shifts in a field governed by peer review.

    A great example is medical doctors’ peer review in Veterans Administration hospitals.

    One doctor was disturbed by the abuses in the VA system. He tried to speak up. And his career was destroyed by the VA’s doctor peer review system. His peers were terrified to speak up because they feared losing their jobs.

    • cdquarles says:

      If you think this is recent, you need to think again. Some of the things that I saw at a VA hospital would simply not be believed by anyone who had not seen it with their own two eyes and even then one could have a hard time accepting what your lying eyes saw. BTDT and some of my worst experiences were in politically dominated ‘safe’ institutions.

  8. Jason Calley says:

    I was initially very impressed with Newton’s “Principia Mathematica” but have since discovered that it was not peer reviewed prior to publication. F=Ma? Bah! Sez who?

    • From what I’ve heard Newton probably stole the idea from his peers. I think it was Hook if I remember right.

      • Ben Vorlich says:

        Gottfried Leibniz for calculus, John Flamsteed & Robert Hooke gravity/planetary motion.

        Reference to Flamsteed was removed from the 2nd edition of Principia.

        The benefits of a Scottish education in the 50s and 60s 😉 The legacy of Dominie teaching still alive then, in only just!

  9. talldave2 says:

    What’s really funny is that peer review is a publishing standard, not a standard of scientific epistemology. Now, robust peer review is certainly a valuable trait for a publication, but it doesn’t prove anything scientifically.

    When you point out that Newton and Galileo didn’t publish in journals, they will scoff and say “That’s ridiculous, journals didn’t exist back then!” QED — science can be done without journals.

    And of course, most science is. It’s an observation as old as Adam Smith that most empirical knowledge is acquired in industry, and very little of it is ever published.

    Anyways, most peer reviewed findings are false.

    • Gail Combs says:


      That is why I laughed myself silly when Skeptical Science was trying to find my ‘Papers’ Have I written any on my research? Sure, but you will never ever see them because I worked in industry.

      The fact that the Idiot Academics at Skeptical Science can not even understand that in industry your papers are very unlikely to be publish just goes to show how completely disconnected from the real world these idiots actually are.

      • Latitude says:


      • Even more to the point, discoveries in industry are kept as “proprietary secrets”. Published? Does Ford publish so Chevy can see?

        I worked in the IR division of GE long ago, designing infrared telescopes. We were sworn to secrecy and signed documents that if we talked, we’d be fired and heavily fined, etc. That’s why I made a posted once under the pseud Mike Sanicola a while back if anybody can remember. The security people at GE take their jobs very seriously.

        • Gail Combs says:

          You got it. Ye Ole’ non-disclosure agreement. I hate to think how many of those I have had to sign.

        • B says:

          I got a talking to once because in an internet forum I offered to send a customer a spare part! The week before the company praised an engineer who did that for someone that showed up at our office.

  10. stpaulchuck says:

    “Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.” – Michael Crichton
    “There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.” – Michael Crichton
    “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” – Mark Twain
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. – Daniel Patrick Moynihan

  11. philjourdan says:

    Pal review is how you get sociology. Conformity is the key, not accuracy.

  12. wordsmeanthings says:

    I’m new to this sea area thing. I’m looking at nsidc charts indicating arctic sea ice extent for day 350, 2014 being @500k km^2 below mean, antarctic extent @1400k above mean, for a global extent at +900k. however, the only global sea ice charts are expressed in area exclusively at +500k. how is that possible?

  13. Latitude says:

    Climate science is not the only field that has bastardized “peer review”…..

    They have blocked papers that disagree with them…..and then elevated peer review to final acceptance status

    Peer review is nothing more than advanced spell check… was never meant to qualify anything….that process starts after a paper is published….when everyone has a go at it…and either it sticks or it doesn’t

    • Gail Combs says:

      Good description. It is the non-scientist who have elevated peer-reviewed to some sort of holly blessing conveyed upon a piece of Bafflegab….

      Where the Baloney Meets the Road

    • emsnews says:

      I am so happy so many people finally have figured out that even top, high level scientists like my father, have been censored and abused because they dared to say the sun control climate while CO2 has virtually no power whatsoever.

      This censorship has been ongoing for quite a while and has hurt a number of older scientists who remember the hot 1930s and are not fooled by this garbage about today being the hottest, ever.

  14. John B., M.D. says:

    As in engineering (my undergrad studies), good peer review in the medical field is very important. Lives are at stake if negative consequences of treatments are not discovered. It is always important to maintain a healthy degree of skepticism when interpreting a study funded by the pharmaceutical or medical device industries. It is not the same thing as being a science “denier.”

    • Gail Combs says:

      The biggest problem is the MSM who take a study and writes a ‘pop article’ that leaves out all the important information.

      Many studies are completely unrecognizable or say the opposite when you get down into the fine print.

      For example one ‘Low-Carbohydrate Diet’ study I read showed no benefits. Only after reading the whole study does it turn out the definition of ‘Low-Carbohydrate’ is 300 grams of carbs a day. There are only 4 grams*** per teaspoon in granulated sugar so that translates into 75 teaspoons of sugar. Or to look at it another way, a cup of potatoes*** is only 30 grams of carbohydrates so it translates into ten cups of potatoes! Not what I would call ‘Low-Carbohydrate’ (I aim for ~30 grams/day)


  15. bleakhouses says:

    The 10th Man Theory, fictionalized in World War Z as “when nine people agree on something, it’s the tenth man’s responsibility to disagree no matter how improbable the idea.”
    In practice, in the IDF, it is known as Ipcha Mistabra, which literally translates to “the opposite is most likely” or “on the contrary.”
    In application it means that group think exposes the group to great danger regardless of how bright and thorough the group may be.
    The protection against that danger is the 10th man.

  16. Truthseeker says:

    Peer review is simply the logical fallacy of argument from authority.

    It was only used by journals as a way of trying to reduce the errors in stuff that it was printing on paper which therefore could not be changed after publication – “print is permanent”.

    In the digital age, this paradigm is no longer valid. Stop using it.

    • Gail Combs says:

      Actually peer review is starting to go the way of the MSM. In another generation, If the internet is still free and not censored, both the MSM (paper type) and Peer review journals will be dead.

      Heck the Northeastern Caver is going to kill its paper copies the middle of next year and go internet only.

  17. Beale says:

    I have read that Ludwig von Mises had two words of advice for free-market economists: “Write books.”

  18. geologyjim says:

    After nearly 40 years working at US Geological Survey, some of the things I recall with great pride are three occasions where my review of a paper lead the author to reconsider – and we ended up rewriting the paper as co-authors.

    Not everyone was so amenable to critical review.

    Two of my worst career experiences where I probably spent more time on the review than the author did on the draft – and the papers were published over my objections due to “the old boy network”

    Win some, lose some

  19. emsnews says:

    I remember when continental drift and the entire concept of mobile land masses was disbelieved.

    Back in very early 1960’s, Dr. Damon at the University of Arizona became one of the early supporters of this concept. My father was against it. I embraced it and fought with my father (I was in high school back then but Dr. Damon was a personal friend).

    Many geologists hated the idea and fought tectonic plate movement tooth and nail. Getting pro-tectonic movement papers published was very hard but at least no one called the people writing these papers dirty names or suggest they be arrested.

    But then, there was no money in supporting the old theories! So it died pretty fast after 20 years and the retirement of most of the Old Guard.

  20. DEEKAYBEE says:

    Three decades plus ago, in the throes of finishing up my doctoral thesis — God know how I landed in being a reviewer on a paper. Bright eyed and foolish me, I wrote a review warts and all and suggested withholding publication until the obvious warts were rectified. To my surprise and early lesson, the paper was published warts and all because I was the only reviewer who had a problem.

  21. This is a brilliant and illuminating comparison.

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